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Sports fashion and sustainability: a perfect match?

Cristopher Siegfried Kopplin (University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany)

International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship

ISSN: 1464-6668

Article publication date: 21 August 2023

Issue publication date: 2 November 2023




Sports fashion is marketed showing happiness, physical performance and self-care. Thus, sports fashion brands should see a good fit with sustainability: future orientation, self-care, care for others and going out for a physical experience, oftentimes in nature. On the other hand, sports fashion is regularly made of non-sustainable materials and produced under difficult work conditions. This paper aims to discuss the aforementioned issues.


The paper at hand seeks to investigate sports brands' approach to sustainability by examining their product portfolio and their annual report data, analyzing their status quo and sustainability strategy. A content analysis is conducted employing the brands' annual reports and their online shops as data sources to assess their status quo in terms of sustainability as well as future plans.


Results show that on the ecological side, brands unanimously focus on carbon reduction, organic cotton, recycled polyester, circularity-ready business model innovation and water and toxic waste management. The social aspect may be divided into the focal brand and the supply chain, including similar measures: equality and diversity, the promotion of ethnic and cultural minorities and increased safety and health for workers.


The paper derives development opportunities and pitfalls for sports fashion brands.



Kopplin, C.S. (2023), "Sports fashion and sustainability: a perfect match?", International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 891-912.



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